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Listening in 3D With Nick Zinner and Martyn Ware

The artist and collaborator bend our ears.

Being inside artist, musician, composer, and creator Nick Zinner’s installation A.D.A.B.A. at our NY event reminded us of being inside Mark Rothko’s Black Chapel. The nondenominational space was created by Rothko in 1964 as a meditative space where his black paintings could be diplayed. A.D.A.B.A. also felt to us like a kind of sanctuary for peaceful contemplation. Enclosed by a tall, black-pleated wall, the space inside A.D.A.B.A. was ideal for viewing the photographs Zinner mounted to LED boards, giving them a glow that added to the whole otherworldly, holy feel of the setting.


"It's just sort of a way to create a unique space where you can appreciate the photos and the music and kind of shut out whatever is happening over there. This is the first thing I've done like this, the longest sound piece I've made, and also the first time I'm combining the two fields," Zinner said. “It's exciting.”

Zinner’s original composition, which is 18-minutes long and created with the benefit of some field recordings from a recent trip to Ethiopia, definitely lent itself to the kind of immersive listening situation the manufactured environment made room for. Composer Martyn Ware of Ilustrious Ltd. spacialized the sound for Zinner and put it into 3-D using a system called 3-D Audioscape which he described as being like surround sound in movie theaters but with an added element of height, to cause the sound to come from above as well as all sides.

“We all listen to the world in three dimensions anyway,” Ware said. So what we’re trying to do is replicate the natural world. And that's what I like about this system. To be honest you wouldn't know where the the sound was coming from if you couldn't see the speakers." We sat on one of the black ottomans in the center and looked and listened for quite a long time. Keep an eye out for A.D.A.B.A. at our London event next. And for more from Zinner and Ware, check out the video above.